Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

I normally wouldn't put up a product but there are some free copies for educators (and it was created by UW's Computer Science and Engineering department and it's STEM-based).    It's a computer security card game called "Control-Alt-Hack" that sounds fun and interesting (for kids 14 and up).   There's a link to a page for educators at the link provided.

Also, I note a bit of name-calling creeping in here.  Please consider your words and speak to ideas/statements and not to people.  We can disagree but without calling each other names.

Also, I mentioned this way back but as a reminder:

Join with other parents to learn about education funding and the upcoming School Levy.  Do you know who makes the decisions on the state level?  What is the McCleary Decision?  Why do schools have to do so much fundraising?  Why do we need Levies?  Come learn about the bigger funding picture. 

Speakers include:  Senator Jeanne-Kohl-Wells; Michael Debell, School Board; Lisa MacFarlane founder of Schools First (Levy Campaign), and Kerry Cooley-Stroum of Schools First.  We’ll end with a question and answer session.

Details:  Thursday, December 6 from 7-8:30 pm at Coe Elementary in the Gym - 
             2424 7th Avenue West (7th Avenue West and West Wheeler) 

Also, for those of you who enjoy holiday programming on television, a listing of all the upcoming shows (Grinch, Charlie Brown, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Sting concert, etc.)

What's on your mind? 


seattle citizen said...

This is an interesting article that was in the New York Times Sunday magazine: The Autism Advantage. It looks at a company in Denmark that tries to match the various skills and abilities that come out of various manifestations of autism with employer needs. Not only does this allow an easier entry into employment for autistic people, it causes us to look at the ways companies, into the future, can look at various skills and how they apply to positions in the company.

Melissa Westbrook said...

SC, I am SO on that one. I read it on Sunday and thought, "I have to learn more." Exciting stuff.

NESeattleMom said...

There were several windows broken at Garfield yesterday around 11:45 am from a BB gun from a car. The car went on the west and south sides of the building. I wonder if this incident is related to the incident yesterday at the Municipal court and at the shop next to the University Bookstore on the Ave. The police arrested the suspect, who was a known person, in the U.District incident. Does anyone know if all three are related, or if yesterday was a BB day?

Anonymous said...

I thought the article in the Seattle Times about the Creative Approach applicants was positive. It opened up a little confusion as to the difference between an option school and a creative approach school, which I was hoping to come here to find more about.

- Creative Options

joanna said...

The forum at Coe seems interesting. I am just not sure that I am ready to go to an event that so prominently features Lisa MacFarlane founder of Schools First (Levy Campaign), and Kerry Cooley-Stroum of Schools First.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Option schools (most of which were formerly alternative schools) are those which parents choose for their students as an alternative to their attendance school. Most of them were started by parents, years ago, because of a desire for a focus/theme supported by parents,teachers and principals.

Options Schools are open to all but do have a geographic zone preference for students whose closest school IS an Option school.

Creative Approach is a new method for ANY school - Option or Attendance - to make changes, big and small at their school. It could be length of day, theme, etc.

You have to have 80% of teachers at a school say yes to a CA approach. There is no real buy-in from parents (yes, yes, allegedly parents have some sort of input and there needs to be some kind of evidence that parents want it) but parents get no vote and there are no parents on the committee that makes the decisions.

Also, since the CA plan can be used at any school, it is an interesting thing for parents who now mostly HAVE to send their child to a school whose approach could be radically different from most attendance schools.

I would love to see parents involved as much as possible in these processes. I hope that we see more innovation but really, more cohesive school communities because of their CA plans.

Most of all, I hope they show we don't need charters and their upheaval.

Anonymous said...

Check out Jay Mathews column in the Washington Post


It is a somewhat bizzarre look at where some folks want WA DC schools to be headed.

Charters schools and the others ... it is NOT a vision I find comforting. BIG DISRUPTION IS GOOD FOR URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICTS. (not in my view)

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

from LEV's fb page... Ugh. Not sure I could endure it..
-sps parent

LEV Nation,

Registration is now open for out third annual Activist Training: Access, Equity and Excellence!

Workshops include:
- Show Me the Money! Funding WA’s Schools
- The Three D's: Discipline, Data Collection and Disproportionality
- Why All Day-Kindergarten Really Matters
- Leveraging our Parent Power in the Collective Bargaining Process
- The Ins and Outs of Teacher Evaluations in Washington
- Community Strategies for Closing the Opportunity Gap
- Learning from the rest of the Nation: How to Do Charters Right

When: 9a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, January 12th
Where: Highline Community College - The Student Union (Building 8)
Cost: $25. (Fee waived upon request)

Sign up using this link: https://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5892/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=172138

Hope to see you there!

Anonymous said...

Ed Week:

Common Core vs. Common Sense

"By compelling schools, teachers, and students to meet standards they are not equipped to meet, we are likely to do serious harm to millions of young people and the larger society."


I see CCSS as the latest ill designed boondoggle. CCSS have not been field tested over time. Yet $500 million and lots more will be aimed at making CCSS work.

John Hattie in "Visible Learning" and "Visible Learning for Teachers" intelligently applies relevant data to show how to improve instruction and well as turn around schools. Instead of designing around the intelligent application of relevant data .... CCSS is being purchased... and teachers will have yet another hurried ill designed (likely half-baked) path to follow.

No Vendor or Consultant will be left behind.

From Hattie's analysis....
Learning effect sizes
Whole Language 0.06
Phonics 0.60

Yet whole language was in vogue for 20+ years in many places. .... CCSS is an untested unproven plan, which hardly makes it an improvement (unless we are talking about Pearson Publishing's bottom line).

U.S. teachers have by comparison with top achieving countries by far the least teacher preparation time weekly..... so how is that being addressed?

Yet again more ill designed mandates that ignore reality.

-- Dan Dempsey

joanna said...

add;http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/education/gates-foundation-gives-25-million-to-charter-school-collaboration.html?ref=charterschools to the list of articles to think about.

mirmac1 said...

Given Melissa's recent admonishment re: name-calling I hesitate to call this like it is...well, you decide:

Gentleman Greer being his usual self to KSB

mirmac1 said...

Here's TFA's Exec Dir crying and whining to SPS' former legend-in-her-own-mind, Holly Ferguson about one of our elected representatives on the board.

She did NOT say that! OMG!

Anonymous said...

Was searching for a different story, but saw the headline from King5. Dr. Maria Goodloe Johnson, dies.



mirmac1 said...


As much as I was happy when MGJ left town, I am sorry to hear of her premature passing.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was a shocking headline to encounter.


Anonymous said...


My child's school is still using Whole Language Tradebooks from the 90s to teach reading. They call it balanced literacy (even though it's clearly not). There is no phonemic awareness or phonics curriculum at the school, and it's been 15 years since the science came down hard against these patterned, predictable tradebooks, yet Seattle marches on using them.


Anonymous said...

Wait until later. Your child will readers workshop (rw). It's great because the school doesn't have to buy any books, and teachers just have to come up with something called a minilesson that applies to every possible book a kid might have. It is essentially a curriculum and materials free learning experience.